Jason D. Averill is Chief of the Materials and Structural Systems Division (MSSD) of the Engineering Laboratory (EL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The Materials and Structural Systems Division includes four groups: the Infrastructure Materials Group, Structures Group, Earthquake Engineering Group, and the Community Resilience Group. The division is also responsible for managing three statutory programs, including the National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program (for which NIST is the lead agency), the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program (for which NIST is the lead agency), and the National Construction Safety Team Program.
Since joining the Engineering Laboratory in 1997, Mr. Averill has focused his research on assessment of hazards to building occupants. Key research areas include movement of people, emergency preparedness, effectiveness of building systems and technologies, and emergency response. Mr. Averill has assessed fire safety for passenger rail cars, characterized material toxicity in large and bench scale experiments, characterized the effect of firefighting resources, and evaluated smoke detection technologies in residential housing.
Mr. Averill is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, was previously appointed to the International Code Council's Means of Egress Committee, has served on the NFPA Life Safety Code Committee (Means of Egress), and was a member of the ASME A17 Task Group developing guidelines for Occupant and Firefighter Use of Elevators During Fire Emergencies.
In 2005, Mr. Averill received the U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Federal Service for his work as leader of the Occupant Egress, Human Behavior, and Emergency Communication in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 project in the Federal Investigation of the Collapse of the World Trade Center Buildings. In 2011, Mr. Averill received the U.S. Department of Commerce Silver Medal for characterizing the deployment of firefighting resources to the residential fireground in order to enable fire departments and city/county managers to make sound decisions regarding optimal resource allocation. In 2004, he received the U.S. Department of Commerce Bronze Medal Award for Superior Federal Service for research into the characterization of the performance of home smoke alarms. In 2014, Mr. Averill was awarded the "President's Award" from the International Association of Fire Chiefs for "leadership and contributions to science-based firefighting tactics and strategies."